Weekly Letter to the President
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ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
February 3, 2017 (posted February 7, 2017)
Mr. President: Iran test-fired a missile and the U.S. government went ballistic. It put
Iran 'on notice' -- a phrase meaning little but with a distinct menace.
Rummaging around in the Obama administration files, the new arrivals soon
discovered well-prepared plans for sanctions should Iran's actions displease. Iran
was no longer 'on notice,' it was sanctioned. The Iranians are furious, saying nobody
was going to stop them from defending themselves.
Saudi Arabia, the perennial U.S. ally and unhappy with the Iran agreement, was well
pleased promising to increase its investments. From Wikileaks we had learned how
this defender of the true faith urged President Obama 'to cut off the head of the
snake' meaning Iran. So a fourteen centuries old political struggle resulting in two
Islamic factions continues, complicated no doubt by the lesser known fact that Saudi
Arabia's oil-rich province has a majority population who are Shia -- the same form of
Islam as in Iran.
The Iran agreement itself consisting of an initial Joint Plan of Action (JPA) and
culminating in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is unique in including a
UN Security Council imprimatur and in involving the six major world powers (U.S.,
Russia, China, UK, France and Germany) plus, of course, Iran. Should the U.S.
abrogate the agreement unilaterally, it would consequently alienate not only Iran but
also its allies, major trading partners, and friend-to-be Russia, if President Trump is to
be believed. Nowhere in this copious document
(https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/iran-nuclear-deal-definitive-guide) does the
word 'missile' appear, for Iran would not have signed the agreement.
So it was that the Obama administration put forward a resolution in the UN security Council to secure missile restrictions not in the tentative
agreement. And it dug in its heels
(https://www.armscontrol.org/Issue-Briefs/2015-07-27/Addressing-Irans-Ballistic-Missiles-in-the-JCPOA-and-UNSC-Resolution). Thus the
Security Council Resolution 2335 passed unanimously. The UN and its Security Council pass all kinds of resolutions sometimes
implemented much more strenuously than was the intent (as in Libya) causing chaos, often ignored (as by India on Kashmir, or Israel, and
others) and generally paid not too much heed ... except when countries find it suits their purpose.
Is it all the Trump bluster? After all, the much self-vaunted business acumen consists of owning
building (Trump Tower) and a minority share in two others in New York and a few hotels. These constitute a majority of his net worth. The rest is
a smattering of golf clubs and franchises.
Mr. Trump will soon discover the world stage, countries, their political leaders and
their people a different cup of tea from real estate. In the first place, the stakes are
higher ... and can be deadly. And a war with Iran, a much larger, better armed
country than Iraq, would be a disaster -- its ramifications likely to be felt by Israel
through a missile-armed Hezbollah. And its large army with easy access to Saudi
Arabia's oil fields, via a Shia run friendly Iraq government, could teach the Saudis and
the Gulf States a lesson they would not soon forget -- despite the U.S. base in Qatar.
If this president has been as easily seduced by military power as his predecessor,
another war and even more refugees are the future. Add all the executive orders,
lawsuits, immigration problems, demonstrations, and as Steve Schmidt a Republican
strategist observed this week, their supporters 'voted for change, not for chaos'.